• Catherine De Medici

  • By: Leonie Frieda
  • Narrated by: Anna Massey
  • Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 06-03-08
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group Limited
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 (31 ratings)

Summary

Catherine de Medici was half French, half Italian. Orphaned in infancy, she was the sole legitimate heiress to the Medici family fortune. Married at 14 to the future Henri II of France, she was constantly humiliated by his influential mistress Diane de Poitiers. When her husband died as a result of a duelling accident in Paris - Leonie Frieda's magnificent, throat-grabbing opening chapter - Catherine was made queen regent during the short reign of her eldest son. (He was married to Mary Queen of Scots and, like many of her children, he died young.) When her second son became king, she was the power behind the throne.
Leonie Frieda has returned to original sources and re-read the thousands of letters left by Catherine. There has not been a biography in English of Catherine for many years, and she believes that the time has come to show her as one of the most influential women in 16th-century Europe.
©2003 Leonie Frieda (P)2005 Orion Publishing Group Ltd
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Critic reviews

"Leonie Frieda tells an enthralling story that includes incest, vicious religious wars, assassination, poison, the occult and, in Catherine's own words, 'passion, hatred and vengeance'." ( Options XIII)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Robyn on 19-06-12

wonderful book beautifully read

This book is a pleasure to listen to. Catherine de Medici and the other characters are interesting and presented in fascinating detail and full colour. It is a scholarly work but accessible to all - full marks to Leonie Frieda. Anna Massey's reading is perfect. Some readers have voices which are difficult to listen to hour after hour and some struggle with foreign words, but Anna Massey is easy on the ear and - so important - her French and Italian pronunciations are spot on. This is one of my favourite audiobooks.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Gillian on 20-01-10

An Amazing Woman!

This biography of Catherine De Medici takes you to the centre of life in the 16th century. Anna Massey is excellent as a narrator as she guides through the trials and tribulations of Catherine's life from a child to her death.

I thoroughly recommend it!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Zaubermond on 24-05-11

An outstanding performance of an excellent book

It isn't easy to find much in English, far less on audio, about the Valois monarchs. It was for that reason I turned to this biography and am very glad I did. I knew little of Catherine before listening to this, and now find myself wanting to learn much more about those around her, from her friend and sister-in-law Marguerite, Duchesse de Berri to her nemesis Diane de Poitiers and many more besides. I also longed to learn more about the architecture and decoration of the many chateaux, such as Chenonceau and Anet. That feeling of wanting to know more is a great treat when reading history, and sadly, sometimes it is a rare one! Frieda's biography is rich and dense with information, and there is never a dull moment for those who love French history. Anna Massey's performance is, as always, outstanding in every way. I only wish the book could have been three times longer, with many incidents gone into with greater detail, so greatly did I enjoy it. I hope you will love it, too.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Donna on 07-02-12

A Great Historical Read

This book gives you a pretty detailed listing of who did what during the 1500's in France. I did enjoy the history lesson but next time I will have to prepare a flow chart of names to keep track of who is doing what to whom. This did provide an extremely good insight into the religious wars of the era.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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